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Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp

Knights of the Hill Country

by Tim Tharp

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Hampton Green loves nothing more than playing football and hanging out with his best friend, Blaine. In his Senior year The Knights are facing yet another undefeated season and it should be Hampton's year. Instead, he begins to see the world in a different light: drifting away from Blaine, questioning the good ol' boys he always believed, and forging a new friendship with studious Sara.

A superb coming-of-age story with great first person narrative and wonderful descriptive language. May suffer a bit from age (c2008) and the Oklahoma setting for today's urban teans... nonetheless, a believeable look at a young man growing up. Nothing objectionable. ( )
  mjspear | Jun 14, 2013 |
Great YA book with classic themes drawn from the world of high school football. What sets this one apart from a certain amount of predictability is the understated voice of the narrator. Beautiful. ( )
  BluesGal79 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Hampton Green isn't the sharpest stick in the knife drawer. It's hard for him to pull together his thoughts to even participate in a class discussion, but on the football field everything clicks for him. He can almost stop time to read a play, and he's definitely got size on his side: he's one of the biggest, meanest, most effective defensive tackles in a very competitive eastern Oklahoma high school conference. His team has won every game for nearly five years, and his best friend Blaine is the star running back trying to grind out one more season on bad knees that he doesn't want anyone to know about. However, there is an undercurrent that's unsettling: For Hampton, football is just a game. For Blaine, it is everything, and he doesn't try to hide his jealousy when big-time colleges start talking to Hampton and not him. Hampton lets his friends do the talking for him, as well as the thinking in most cases-- until Hampton realizes he's developing feelings for a very unpopular, nerdy girl named Sara, who helps him realize that his friends are pushing him around and getting him into situations he doesn't need to be in. This is a well-paced story that will appeal to guys and girls alike, although there might be more on-field action than non-football fans would like. At just more than 200 pages (I read it in eBook format at 251 pgs) this is a quick read but with enough depth to make students weigh the price of friends over sticking up for what is right. Recommended. ( )
  TigerLMS | May 9, 2012 |
So different than all of the vampire/angel/werewolf books or the spoiled brat city kid dramas out there. I really enjoyed this book.

Hampton Green is the star of his high school football team. Not that Hampton feels like a star or even believes he deserves to be a star. Sure, he's a fantastic linebacker who has garnered the attention of college football scouts. But it's Hampton's best friend, Blaine, who is the real star. Until Blaine injured his knee during a game, he'd been the one everyone had cheered for. And it was Blaine and Blaine's father who taught Hampton all about football in the first place, after Hampton's own father abandoned Hampton and his mother years ago. So naturally Hampton feels a deep sense of loyalty to his friend.

However, Blaine's life is unraveling at a scary pace, and Hampton is starting to question things that had not so long ago seemed so simple. For example, why is it so wrong for him to want to date Sarah, a girl who might not look like the typical cheerleader/jock trophy girlfriend but seems to understand Hampton like nobody ever before. As Blaine loses his grip, Hampton has to figure out the difference between loyalty and blind obedience before his own world falls apart.

Tim Tharpe does an amazing job capturing Hampton's authentic voice. With a combination of Oklahoma dialect and Hampton's simple way of looking at things, he comes across as a real kid whose perception of himself is faulty and far too self-deprecating.

One aspect of this story that came as some surprise for me was the amount of suspense it contained. As an adult, I watched as Blaine's story unfolded through Hampton's innocent eyes - it was so clear to me what was happening and how Blaine was close to imploding while Hampton couldn't see it. I was terrified that Blaine would drag Hampton down with him and destroy Hampton's limited chances for a good future.

As a character, Blaine was hard to like. His motivations for acting the way he did are very clear and understandable, and I can totally believe his spiral out of control. However, the way he treated Hampton was hard to bear, especially given the amount of blind loyalty Hampton felt for his best friend. Many times I wanted to reach into the pages and give Hampton a good shake and tell him to ditch Blaine, that the guy was bad news and not a good friend at all. Hampton deserved so much better.

This is a great story for both boys and girls. There are some fairly descriptive passages about football games and plays, but these work fairly well and are easy to understand even for a non-football geek like me. Mostly, Hampton is an immensely likable character, and you just want so badly for things to turn out well for him. ( )
1 vote lynnm | Jun 25, 2011 |
Plenty of football action and plenty of heart, too--what a great story! ( )
  booklady9 | Jul 8, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553495135, Mass Market Paperback)

In a small Oklahoma town, one star linebacker must decide what kind of man he wants to be--both on and off the field.
Welcome to Kennisaw--where Friday night high school football ranks right up there with God and country, and sometimes even comes in first. This year, the Kennisaw Knights are going for their fifth straight undefeated season, and if they succeed, they'll be more than the best high school team in the eastern Oklahoma hill country--they'll be legends.

But the Knights' legacy is a heavy weight to carry for Hampton, linebacker and star of the team. On the field, he's so in control you'd think he was able to stop time. But his life off the field is a different story. His father walked out on him and his mom years ago, and now his mom has a new boyfriend every week. He's drawn to a smart, quirky girl at school--the type a star athlete just isn't supposed to associate with. And meanwhile, his best friend and teammate Blaine--the true friend who first introduced Hampton to football back when he had nothing else--is becoming uncomfortably competitive, and he's demanding Hampton's loyalty even as Hampton thinks he's going too far.

This unforgettable novel is the story of a boy whose choices will decide the kind of man he becomes, and raises powerful questions about sportsmanship, loyalty, and the deceptiveness of legends.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:00 -0400)

In his senior year, high school star linebacker Hampton Greene finally begins to think for himself and discovers that he might be interested in more than just football.

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